A near-Earth flyby provides scientists with a rare, close-up view of an asteroid.
On February 15, 2013, an asteroid called 2012 DA14 raced through space a mere 17,200 miles from Earth's surface. Although the asteroid had no chance of hitting our planet, its approach was one of the closest ever recorded for a near-Earth object. Using one of NASA's Deep Space Network antennas, scientists created a series of radar images of the asteroid as it traveled away from Earth. These observations are essential for predicting its future trajectory. By analyzing the pixelated images scientists estimate the asteroid's length to be roughly 130 feet. On average, an object of that size crosses Earth's orbit at close range about once every 40 years. Watch the videos to see radar views of asteroid 2012 DA14 and a simulation of its near-Earth flyby.
Please give credit for this item to: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Radar video and image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech /GSSR Simulation courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech 2012 DA14 images courtesy of La Sagra Sky Survey Eta Carinae Nebula image courtesy of NASA/MSFC/Aaron Kingery Radar antenna image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech
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